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Problem solving heuristics in middle school mathematics textbooks in Saudi Arabia

Problem solving heuristics in middle school mathematics textbooks in Saudi Arabia
Problem solving heuristics in middle school mathematics textbooks in Saudi Arabia
It is well known that solving mathematics problems is one of the most difficult parts for students of any stage and how to become a successful mathematics problem solver requires complex cognitive skills. Like many other countries, in Saudi Arabia teaching solving problems is a main goal of teaching mathematics and it is a central concern of mathematics educators and mathematics curriculum developers (Ministry of Education, 2007). As textbooks are fundamental resources in Saudi classrooms, this study aims to examine to what extent Saudi textbooks reflect the mathematics curriculum goal in developing students' abilities in mathematical problem solving (Ministry of Education, 2007). Most specifically, the study investigates how the national middle school mathematics textbooks in Saudi Arabia represent problem solving heuristics. The study basically adopted Schoenfeld’s definition about heuristics, that is, a heuristic is “a general suggestion or strategy, independent of any particular topic or subject matter, that helps problem solvers approach and understand a problem and efficiently marshall their resources to solve it” (Schoenfeld, 1987). We established a framework for coding heuristics into different categories such as "guess and check", "look for pattern", "draw a diagram", etc. The data were collected from three textbooks, which are used in Grades 7, 8 and 9, through analyzing all examples problems in the textbooks, and then coded the result following the framework. The initial findings show that all the textbooks represent a good number of problems and there are fourteen heuristics presented in the textbooks, though most of which are found in Grades 7 and 8. It is hoped that the findings of the study will shed light on the potential challenges facing textbooks developers in terms of mathematical problem solving
Alafaleq, Manahel
99c9d410-06bd-4d3e-b040-33575e39e866
Fan, Lianghuo
28afe582-cd04-4ddc-9acb-a12494af79e0
Alafaleq, Manahel
99c9d410-06bd-4d3e-b040-33575e39e866
Fan, Lianghuo
28afe582-cd04-4ddc-9acb-a12494af79e0

Alafaleq, Manahel and Fan, Lianghuo (2014) Problem solving heuristics in middle school mathematics textbooks in Saudi Arabia. International Conference on Mathematics Textbook Research and Development. 29 - 31 Jul 2014. 7 pp .

Record type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)

Abstract

It is well known that solving mathematics problems is one of the most difficult parts for students of any stage and how to become a successful mathematics problem solver requires complex cognitive skills. Like many other countries, in Saudi Arabia teaching solving problems is a main goal of teaching mathematics and it is a central concern of mathematics educators and mathematics curriculum developers (Ministry of Education, 2007). As textbooks are fundamental resources in Saudi classrooms, this study aims to examine to what extent Saudi textbooks reflect the mathematics curriculum goal in developing students' abilities in mathematical problem solving (Ministry of Education, 2007). Most specifically, the study investigates how the national middle school mathematics textbooks in Saudi Arabia represent problem solving heuristics. The study basically adopted Schoenfeld’s definition about heuristics, that is, a heuristic is “a general suggestion or strategy, independent of any particular topic or subject matter, that helps problem solvers approach and understand a problem and efficiently marshall their resources to solve it” (Schoenfeld, 1987). We established a framework for coding heuristics into different categories such as "guess and check", "look for pattern", "draw a diagram", etc. The data were collected from three textbooks, which are used in Grades 7, 8 and 9, through analyzing all examples problems in the textbooks, and then coded the result following the framework. The initial findings show that all the textbooks represent a good number of problems and there are fourteen heuristics presented in the textbooks, though most of which are found in Grades 7 and 8. It is hoped that the findings of the study will shed light on the potential challenges facing textbooks developers in terms of mathematical problem solving

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More information

Published date: July 2014
Venue - Dates: International Conference on Mathematics Textbook Research and Development, 2014-07-29 - 2014-07-31
Organisations: Mathematics, Science & Health Education

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 369524
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/369524
PURE UUID: 0479b857-2b0c-4d70-9119-b536f73947c9

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Date deposited: 13 Oct 2014 10:36
Last modified: 17 Jul 2017 21:56

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